December 2007


The Necessity of Atheism is a treatise on atheism by Percy Bysshe Shelley, published anonymously in 1811 while he was a student at University College, Oxford. A copy was sent as a pamphlet to all heads of Oxford colleges at the University. The content was so shocking to the authorities that he was expelled for not refusing authorship, together with his friend and fellow student, Thomas Jefferson Hogg.

A revised and expanded version was printed in 1813.

Here are some points:

  • There Is No God
    This negation must be understood solely to affect a creative Deity. The hypothesis of a pervading Spirit co-eternal with the universe remains unshaken.

If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him?
If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future?
If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers?
If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him?
If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses?

If grace does everything for them, what reason would he have for recompensing them?
If he is all-powerful, how offend him, how resist him?
If he is reasonable, how can he be angry at the blind, to whom he has given the liberty of being unreasonable?
If he is immovable, by what right do we pretend to make him change his decrees?
If he is inconceivable, why occupy ourselves with him?
If he has spoken, why is the universe not convinced?
If the knowledge of a God is the most necessary, why is it not the most evident and the clearest?

“If God wishes to be known, cherished, thanked, why does he not show himself under his favorable features to all these intelligent beings by whom he wishes to be loved and adored? Why not manifest himself to the whole earth in an unequivocal manner, much more capable of convincing us than these private revelations which seem to accuse the Divinity of an annoying partiality for some of his creatures? The all-powerful, should he not heave more convincing means by which to show man than these ridiculous metamorphoses, these pretended incarnations, which are attested by writers so little in agreement among themselves? In place of so many miracles, invented to prove the divine mission of so many legislators revered by the different people of the world, the Sovereign of these spirits, could he not convince the human mind in an instant of the things he wished to make known to it? Instead of hanging the sun in the vault of the firmament, instead of scattering stars without order, and the constellations which fill space, would it not have been more in conformity with the views of a God so jealous of his glory and so well-intentioned for mankind, to write, in a manner not subject to dispute, his name, his attributes, his permanent wishes in ineffaceable characters, equally understandable to all the inhabitants of the earth? No one would then be able to doubt the existence of God, of his clear will, of his visible intentions. Under the eyes of this so terrible God no one would have the audacity to violate his commands, no mortal would dare risk attracting his anger: finally, no man would have the effrontery to impose on his name or to interpret his will according to his own fancy”

“God is an hypothesis, and, as such, stands in need of proof: the onus probandi rests on the theist”

The full text include thoughts on future of state as well and is a great read—–

Advertisements

Daily Dawn” is the leading and perhaps the best English daily in Pakistan. It has recently published an article that caught my eye. In the Punjabi town of Kasur there is a Socialist MP, who is up for the re election. May be PPP still is Not dead”

Whose Kasur is it?
By Asha’ar Rehman
NEVER before have I seen so many Bhagat Singhs at one place.

The young sardar who along with his comrades had taken on the might of the British in the 1920s looks at the visitor from the various souvenirs the owner of the house has been presented with during his peace explorations in India in recent years. “To a VIP personality from Pakistan,” says an inscription.

In one corner of the room, a showcase has a poster in the Pakistan People’s Party colours. The slogan promises ‘uncompromised struggle until a socialist revolution’. Another Shaheed, his name Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, peers out from a side-wall that he has all to himself. With an Ajrak thrown round his neck, ZAB wears a look that would rival the innocence frozen in an 18th century painting.

Have I been overawed by the surroundings already? Surely it is a picture that I haven’t seen before and a setting that has taken its time returning to me. Perhaps it has all this while been eclipsed by perceptions more pragmatic and more popular.It takes me a little while to reconcile to the reality as it exists in this room, as it exists in this constituency, NA-139.I am in Kasur, inside the last bastion of a socialist PPP. The house or the Dera belongs to Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed, “the only communist member” from the PPP in the last National Assembly”.

He had won in one of the most interesting four-way contests in the country in the 2002 election. The losing candidates included Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri while Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali had withdrawn from the fight after filing his nomination papers from the same seat. Both the Sardar and Mr Kasuri are now pitted against each other in the adjoining constituency which, because of the presence of these two former foreign ministers, has been tagged ‘FM 140’.

Syeda Neelofar Mehdi, who had back then given the PPP candidate a run for his money and whose vote tally had far exceeded Mr Kasuri’s, is this time in the fray on a PML-Q ticket. One of the two women candidates with a claim on an NA seat in the district, she is by most local accounts a very resourceful lady and a strong rival for Chaudhry Manzoor and for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Sheikh Wasim Akhtar. Both Syeda Mehdi and Sheikh Akhtar had got more than 25,000 votes each in the 2002 election — some 3,000 votes less than the winner.

As I ask around in Kasur, I am reminded of the ultimate election truth: the numbers as they had stood the last time are not always a good indicator of how things would shape now.

Much has transpired between 2002 and now and much is going to change between now and Jan 8. There are candidates who have somehow failed to maintain a physical presence in their constituency, candidates who have been heard complaining in private how their ‘supporters’ had the last time round failed to deliver on their promises after charging a heavy fee for their services. The Biradari factor refuses to die and the ‘independent journalist’ working for a local newspaper admits that he is himself unsure which faction of his Biradari he will ultimately side with on Jan 8. Not to forget, there are groupings within the parties. These trends are better discussed post-election, with the help of hindsight. Election predictions, if they have to be made, have to be blamed on a local volunteer.

Without too much difficulty, I manage to find a true servant of humanity, a doctor-cum-journalist-cum-the rest who apparently has the credentials to call the race. I watch as he charges Rs15 in fee for the treatment his assistant gives to a patient, one-third of which he is willing to spend on providing me with a cup of tea. But he volunteers no information beyond the “It is going to be close” refrain.

It is not hazardous to observe though that one thing that cuts across Biradaris and parties is the view that while elections do not necessarily change things, these are to be taken part in and not boycotted. The feeling was the same even when the PML-N appeared to be seriously considering the boycott option.

The popular issues exist at a distance from what roles some of us would want to assign to our politics and politicians. Chaudhry Manzoor’s interaction with a group of men from his area corroborates this. He is one moment heard reprimanding a group of men for a quarrel they had been involved in last Eid before he assures them that he will help them reach a compromise (a deal?) with their rivals. The next moment he is telling someone by telephone how he had, tongue in cheek of course, called for privatisation of the army and of parliament itself on the floor of the house. And he returns from some secret discussion that had briefly taken him out of the room to tell another couple of visitors that he is doing all he can to ensure that they get their visas soon — I guess visas for Haj. Yet another assignment that his supporters have for him must wean him away from his constituency at such an important time to Lahore for a few hours. Besides he has to see an SE — I presume at the local Wapda office.

Little seems to have changed in the 37 years since the country started to have its general elections. No wonder the socialist wants his party to return to where it had been left off in 1970.here is the link to the Dawn:

http://www.dawn.com/2007/12/17/top17.htm

In this epoch of confusion, the most troubling question is the position of Islamic fundamentalism in the global anti imperial movement. After the destruction of USSR, the traditional leftist parties went through a phase of degeneration, where their leadership shifted to the right. The vacuum created was filled by forces of Islamic fundamentalism, which appears to be more radical and anti imperialist than the Left. Many orthodox Left circles in their inherent intellectual impotency started celebrating Hamas and Hizbollah. The perverted interpretations of “united and Popular front” theories were used to support this attitude. This is the most fatal mistake a revolutionary can ever make , to confuse “revolution” from “counter revolution”. In Moslem society this confusion is fatal for any revolutionary prospect. Left should learn from its failure in Iran. In Pakistan the Left is sitting with Islamic fundamentalism too. International Marxist Website published a polemical article on this issue. Its educational value is great. The article resulted when an Israeli Marxist declared “Hamas” a popular resistance calling its occupation of Gaza , the “liberation”. The response from a Moroccan marxist challenges this illusion. i hope this will be a good read.

Why Marxists cannot support Islamic fundamentalism – the case of Hamas

By Communist League of Action – Morocco Tuesday, 02 October 2007

In order to understand the causes behind the confrontations between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza, we need to study the politics that led to these confrontations. By posing things in this way things become clearer.

We believe that the political reasons for these confrontations are the struggle for “a fair repartition of the cake” between the “old” and the “new” – the interests of the masses count for nothing… We believe, like “most people on the left”, that it is “a mere power struggle between two equally reactionary forces”.

The victory of Hamas brings nothing to the Palestinian masses in terms of their living conditions or their liberation struggle. Comrade Yehuda Stern is right when he says: “the victory of Hamas in Gaza does not solve any of the fundamental problems of the Palestinian masses” and that “one would have to be a fool to consider Hamas as a revolutionary or even a consistently anti-imperialist organization.”

Hamas has not led this war for the masses nor for national liberation. They have led it because “They, too, wish to become part of the capitalist system. They climb on the shoulders of the oppressed masses and try to take the lead in order to use their strength to achieve a ‘better compromise’ with the imperialist oppressor. [Their aim…] is to be accepted as part of a viable ruling elite by the imperialist powers that dominate the world scene.”

There is not one progressive atom to these policies of Hamas. The war between the reactionary forces to determine which amongst them will be the representative of the imperialists in the country is not a war in which we must take part. Revolutionaries do not need to support one camp against another. On the contrary, the policy of the Marxists is to denounce this war and call for class policies on the part of the mass organisations.

When reading a part of comrade Stern’s article, we can only come to the conclusion that he demands support for Hamas since the masses “support” this organisation, and that we must be with them in their war against Fatah – because this war is “a decisive battle between imperialism and the Palestinian people” and because “the victory of Hamas has galvanized the Palestinian and Arab masses against imperialism and shaken the confidence of the Israeli workers in their oppressors.”

However, after only a few lines we see in the same article by the same author that “Hamas does not have any real alternative to offer to capitalist exploitation”. We also see that “Hamas is a populist movement” and above all “we should always keep firmly in mind that Hamas does not want to overthrow capitalism. They merely wish for banks and monopolies with Islamic names. If they follow the same path of making deals with the imperialist powers, which at a certain stage will be inevitable, its leadership will be exposed as just another group of bourgeois politicians, no better than Fatah, especially should they attempt to set up a regime in their image to assert their domination. This, in the long run, is the only possibility in Palestine, where the ruling class is extremely weak and lacks any popular base.”

Furthermore that “we do not give the fundamentalists any political support” [our emphasis].

We even see that in the article it is stated that that Hamas’ war is “a decisive battle between imperialism and the Palestinian people” and their victory is “a severe blow against imperialism” etc. If this were the case the comrade would have the right to demand political support for Hamas (= fundamentalists) and it would be a serious error not to… However, all this talk of “the decisive battle” and “severe blow” is wrong and the truth is that Hamas “merely wish for banks and monopolies with Islamic names.” We must remember that “Hamas is a populist, reactionary movement, whose leadership not long ago had announced its willingness to negotiate with the USA and Britain,” etc. In this case, we must not give “any political support”.

From our point of view, we believe that:

Firstly, this war is not “between imperialism and the Palestinian people”. It is between two camps of the same class for domination, as we have already explained.

Secondly, the victory of Hamas will not weaken the confidence of the Israeli masses in their oppressors.Hamas is a semi-fascist, anti-Semitic religious party. On the contrary, Its propaganda about exterminating the “infidel” Jews and its methods are the best arguments in the hands of the Israeli ruling class for maintaining the “sacred unity”…

Hamas does not have a lot of room for manoeuvre even if they come to an agreement with imperialism and “climb on the shoulders of the oppressed masses and try to take the lead in order to use their strength to achieve a ‘better compromise’ with the imperialist oppressor”.

Hamas in reality, as our comrade says, “has already signalled that it is willing to reach a compromise with the imperialists and their representatives in Palestine, i.e. the Fatah movement and President Mahmoud Abbas”.

This could lead to desperation, where at least a small fraction of their rank and file could begin to launch suicide attacks against the Israeli masses. In this case, “This act [will create] more hatred between the Israeli masses and the Palestinian masses. By pushing the Israeli working class into the hands of the [ruling class] these terrorists are in reality the best friends of the [ruling class]. If they did not exist [the Israeli ruling class] would have to invent them. The logic behind this criminal act is to strengthen the right-wing, giving more legitimacy to the terror of the state.” (see: Israel: Ashdod bombings: How reaction and individual terrorism feed off each other. Obviously, this will not “shake the confidence of the Israeli workers in their oppressors.”

Thirdly, the “galvanisation” of the Arab masses against imperialism around forces such as Hamas is comparable to the “galvanisation” called for by Bin Laden and other fanatics…

Do the Palestinian masses support Hamas?

The last election gave Hamas a large victory (in parliamentary terms, although not in terms of votes) whereas Fatah and the other groups suffered an important defeat. The comrade is right when he explains this victory by saying: “This victory of Hamas would not have been possible without a massive turn of the Palestinian masses both in Gaza and the West Bank against Fatah and the leaders of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) after more than a decade of extreme corruption and collaboration with imperialism and the Israeli government against their own people.”

Hamas has cynically exploited this situation by using demagogic, populist language which concentrates on the struggle against corruption and the continuation of the resistance. Its promises are not limited to this world, but extend even to the “next world”!!

This means that the vote for Hamas was not a vote for its reactionary, anti-Semitic project, nor for its attitude towards women, etc., but revenge against Fatah and a vote for a change in living conditions. This makes us more conscious of the relevance of the revolutionary Marxist alternative to save the masses from alienation.

The masses can sometimes support very reactionary movementswhen they find themselves at an impasse, in unbearable living conditions, in the absence of a revolutionary alternative, and when the leaders of the mass organisations behave like traitors. In such cases, and since nature abhors a vacuum, it is possible that a fascist party, or something similar, takes advantage of the situation and takes power.

In such cases we must endure temporary isolation. However, the situation in Palestine is different, and more favourable, as we have already explained – the masses in Palestine voted for a reactionary party, but for progressive reasons.

Conclusion:

Hamas is a reactionary bourgeois party. We must unmask it and struggle against it. To do this, we must struggle for class independence. We must struggle for a united front of the mass organisations – the trade unions and left currents – on the basis of a militant programme against the barbarism caused by this confrontation, against the Israeli aggression, and for the improvement in the living conditions of the masses. These are only general ideas and we must develop such a programme concretely.

We raise all this despite the fact that we believe that it is premature to speak of an intervention in the mass movement in Palestine at this stage. We believe that we must concentrate our forces on making contact with the most advanced elements there and educate them in the spirit of Marxism, etc. But they must be educated as Marxist cadres who struggle for the independence of the working class.

Comradely Greetings,

Communist League of Action (Morocco)

The movement of Mysticism emerged as a reaction against the nexus of Arab imperialism, the Mullahs or the clerics and the emergence of culture of the rich and the fashionable , against which the “rough shirt” of wool became the symbol of resistance and etymological root of the word “sufi” [though controversial from Sof] , i continue the story from where I left it—Passion of Hallaj

Bayazeed and Rabiya shook the very foundations of “Islam” as Mullah considered it. Many of the great Sufis were killed by the Kings but they became the “heroes” of the masses . yet another result was the sudden increase in Conversions to Islam in the conquered land [ A comparative study of conversion to Islam during Arab Imperialism suggest that very little conversion occurred during Ummayed and early Abbasid periods, but a sudden surge occurred as Mysticism became a full movement] [A fact further highlighted by the fact that the”Sheria or law based Islam to this day is not popular in conquered moslem lands from Iran to Afghanistan to Sindh to India, Masses still have their attachment to Sufis though how much deranged it is]

At the time of Hussein this “rebel” movement had been tamed by Abbasid, they had learned that they had actually increased the strength of Sufis and others by killing and torturing them , so they wooed them. A prestigious University of Baghdad was given to the Mystics , the Nizammiya where “Mysticism” took the form of a scholarly Philosophy where Persian, Greek, Nestorian and the converts taught various discipline [ Hussein’s own grand father taught for some time the Philosophy of Being there]

Hussein’s grandfather was a Zoroastrian, his father converted to Islam , initially he didnt told his father but the wise old man soon discovered when he found that his grandson has been named “Hussein”. Why you named him Hussein? dont you know what happened to Hussein, he asked his son Mansoor! The son ignored , his eyes couldnt see the fire in the eyes of the child , which the fire worshiper had seen and made him anxious about the name! the fiery eyes that would later became the identification of Hussein . Years later Hussein will visit his father and ask him to re light the sacred fire which had been extinguished after the death of his grand father

Hussein learned Koran as a child and was educated by the mystics . His piety and intelligence became legend, the sufi teachers of his town couldnt answer his question, they were amazed by his piety and his attitude. he lived with the poor and the untouchables . Soon they were telling him . Go to Baghdad, Go to Junaid–

By the time Junaid became the Principle , Sufi movement was fully incorporated into State apparatus. It became elitist, scholarly and academic, totally cut from masses
It was this “alliance” that Hussein despised, he left the “Shrines” and lived in poorest suburbs. He stopped giving lectures to the “scholars” but talked to people in their own voice . He started challenging the “tenants” of Islam [those made by Mullahs” and exposed the hypocrisy of religious elite. who make people pray but who are evil themselves ; prayer was supposed to bring Piety and purity, who Fasted but but crimes increased, ] His first agitation was to Refuse to enter into Mecca when he went for the Hajj

He stood outside Mecca and refused to enter, he refused to answer the questions of the people and scholars. when they really annoyed him he declared ” I am waiting for the invitation from God, if he wants me to enter into his house, he should call me, i wont enter un invited”

It was this very “ego” that Iqbal would later call “Khudi” in “Khuda bunde se khud pooche , bata teri raza kiya he”

This answer infuriated all, the great scholar Wasil went to him and told him to be humble and as God doesn’t like this ego. he refused, later Junaid ordered him to move to Madina. As he entered Madina, his mood changed and he prayed in Prophet’s Mosque

As he returned to Baghdad, he mocked the Hajj, to exposed that people have made it a status symbol, a symbol of pride, and wealth

He made a replica of Kabba in his back yard, and started circling it, when people asked him “O shaik what are you doing, he replied, you think that revolving around the Stone and mud is Islam so i am doing it more than you”

He was actually repeating the thesis of one of earliest teachers of Sufis , the great lady Rabbiya al Basri, who had mocked this before.

He never saw the corporate Hajj culture fortunately, or God knows what he would have done. A culture which has destroyed the very essence of Hajj, spent million and live in 5 star hotel with air conditioned tent, spent dollars and be pious , and the people must spent all there life’s earning and be humiliated by authorities, live in a tent for the poor, and die in stampede.

If you are dictator who has killed innocent children learning Koran in Bajour on orders of Bush, the guardians of Kaa’ba will open gates of Kaaba 5 times for you. When a poor Dhimmi of this dictator overwhelmed by love kisses the wall of Prophet’s shrine, the guardians will beat him for “Shirik”

He never saw all this, but he knew it will happen so he did all this! The Mullahs and there Fatwa factories started working , Qaramati , Qaramati [A ismaili sect with anarchist tendencies who resisted the apparent and desired the hidden, insisted esoteric meaning of Hajj rather than its practice ] they started shouting . He was outraged , He started running on the streets of Baghdad shouting “Ahdam ul Kaa’ba”, “Demolish the Kaa’ba” They demanded his death [Later Sufis will discover divine wisdom in these words]

Tales of his piety grew from Baghdad to India, his prayers were answered in minuted, he cured the sick, etc, Junaid was “out raged”

He called him and snubbed him “you woo illiterate people around you, you mock religion, you perform miracles, you think these petty tricks are tasawuff? you live in low company”

Hussein sat at their feet and said “O shaik do i live with people more low than with whom Jesus use to live?” i dont do any thing, it He who does every thing, he makes me do things, he makes me say thing, ask Him to leave me”

With that he started running on streets of Baghdad, shouting “O Moslems your God is very cruel, any one on whom he shows love , is killed, he loved Ibrahim and thew him in fire, He loved Jonah and than put him in tummy of the fish, he loved Jesus and than put him on cross , he loved Hussein and got him killed in Kerbala, now he is after me.O moslems ask him to leave me.”

Hussein transcended the “traditional religions”. He traveled to Iran, Afghanistan, and even India, he passed through Multan and reached as far as River Ganges
After return from India he always wore the Saffron shirt of Hindu Mystics

He had discovered God, the Truth and Knowledge , he had discovered Islam , From Turkey to India his unmatched humanism left its marks , each region gave him a name, Hussein, Hallaj,Mansoor, the seer etc
Than he started protesting with the Poor of Baghdad against the evil Minister and the king, he led many procession
than they called for disobedience and refuse to pay the taxes

It was than that Minister went to king and asked him to implement the Fatwas on which Sunni, the Shia and the Sufis all agree. King refused to [ As he himself was once cured by prayer of Hussein and the Roman mother of the King was a follower of Hussein considering him Divine [in tradition of the Nestorian saints]

The minister told him that “People of Baghdad have refused to pay the taxes, the Fitna is on the Streets if u dont act the Abbasid throne will end”

The Mystics or the Sufis were accomplice to murder, not bcz of apostasy but because in their words “Hussein had divulged the “great secret” in open” to the masses”

It was this “Mysticism” that Iqbal later condemned , “Nikal kur Khangahon se ada kur rassam e Shabiri” Hussein left the Khangah and was abandoned by the Sufi Elite

He was put in Jail by the authorities for many years.Hussein was first “stoned” by the crowd , he remained silent. calm and at ease, the Mullahs and others watching in awe,

Junaid the principle of “Nizamiya” and one of teachers of Hussein signed the “Fatwas” by the Mullah. Others Sufis also signed it as their great teacher did

Only two Sufis refused to sign the decree of death. One was named “Shibli” the one who himself was in “junoon”
and one the Pious lady ‘Atiya”

When every one was stoning him they saw Shibli standing, The grand Mullah asked him to throw the stone as well, he refused, later the Mullahs said “o Shaik you are denying God’s sheria , Junaid has signed the fatwa as well

Shibli moved to the crowd and than threw some thing at Hussein, it was a Red Rose, as it touched Hussein,
He cried loudly , for the first time as said “even you Shibli? who knows the truth”

Later Hussein was tortured, he was “crucified” his hands and feet broken, when he died he was burned
his ashes were thrown in river

till that time, every thing that touched him shouted “Ana ul Haq”
Even the Shia clerics agreed on his death

I will die like Christ , he use to say , and did for the same reasons , the reasons of Truth!

“Ana ul Haq”, “I” am the truth” , became the cry of revolution in Moslem world, In Indo Pak ke is known as “Mansoor” a symbol of resistance, humanism, free speech and tolerance . What does that mean? “I” am Truth, Years later human knowledge would identify this “I” as the “Subjectivity”.

I” am the Truth [No “other” truth is needed, its free Human from all tyranny, I is the free Human, the Free moslem, whose hand is God’s hand] Its thought that creates the problem of “I” and “you” , observer and observed , universe and God . Every thing is one! and its the Truth, as Faiz said:

Uthe ga Ana ul Haq ka naara

Jo mein bhi hun or tum bhi ho—

The great French Scholar Louis Massignon , introduced Hussein to Europe, Since than Hussein’s views have great impact on European thought and morality. He is particularly revered by Gnostics, Thalamites, Neo Pagans as well

http://godlas.myweb.uga.edu/Sufism/tawasin.html

This is the link to “Tawasin” the English translation of the book written by Hussein

The Thelemic Church which has very high regards for Hussein

http://www.thelemicknights.org/maltesecross.html

He is included in “Order of Maltese Cross”

He enjoys similar respect in other Gnostic churches as well!

Iqbal wrote a Persian poem on Hussein . Along with the great Iranian Poetess Quratulain who was also murdered by Mullahs bcz she refused to wear Hijab and became Babi
Iqbal mentioned both heroes of freedom in Javed Nama

Hallaj in desert

Islamic mysticism later accepted Hussein as the greatest of Saints and teacher who ever lived—

“India has been unique in the sense that Left has been predominant in its “establishment”. For a long time, the ruling bourgeoisie kept raising red banner exciting many “third way” leftist throughout the globe. Nehru emerged as a leading figure of post war world history. Communists of India plagued by their theoretical incapacity kept swining between Nehru and Anarchism. India was partitioned , the communists supporting it, a decision that resulted in destruction of the progressive moslem cadre not only in Pakistan but also in India. The communist parties of India can be accused of every thing apart of being “communist” , but in recent times, what they did in Nandigram is unique in history of left. Weather its “liberal capitalist phase” of Stalinism or overt Fascism, i am not sure. Rajesh Tyagi gives an interesting perspective on the “International Marxist Website”Nandigram

India: Nandigram – the Waterloo of the revisionists

By Rajesh Tyagi in Delhi
Friday, 07 December 2007
The coalition government ruling the province of West Bengal in India, deceptively coloured in Red, under the banner of the ‘Left Front’ ‑ a block of four parties, dominated by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has been the vehicle for carrying out so-called “liberal” bourgeois policies. Under the regime of this Left Front, West Bengal has more than ever before become a convenient playground for the adventures of domestic and foreign capitalists. Time and again the Ministers in this government have assured the capitalists that the province of West Bengal is the safest haven on earth for capitalist investments. All the four parties in this “Left” coalition consider the national (“liberal”) bourgeoisie as an ally in their “revolution”, the so-called National Democratic Revolution. But just as this Indian bourgeoisie has itself been under the tutelage of world capitalism so have its allies in the Left Front. Rattan Tata, one of the top Indian capitalists, once said that West Bengal under the Left Front is the best place for investment. This was not a casual remark, but one based on an assessment of the role of this government. In the name of National Democratic Revolution, these parties have long since severed their ties with working class struggles. Instead, they have become proponents of “tripartite settlements” between labour and capital with the mediation of the government, i.e. open class collaborationist policies pursued by this Left Front.Protest
Since 1991, after the proclamation of the introduction of a “liberal” regime of capitalism in India, the direct domination of foreign finance in the economic life of the country has become even more of a reality than in the past and all petty bourgeois opposition to it has been transformed into a farce. Efforts of the West Bengal government have since then been focused on facilitating direct and indirect foreign investment in the province. This “Left Front” has therefore to show, more than others, its zeal in the service of capitalism in general, to assure the masters of world capitalism that the red banner it holds is nothing but a smokescreen, behind which stand the cousins of Gorbachev.

While the other local bourgeois governments, including the national government, were still proceeding at a snail’s pace to concretise the projects of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ), the capitalist hubs for the intense exploitation of labour and thereby the generation of super-profits, this “Left Front” has been taking the lead to prove itself the most deserving promoter of capitalism.

Recently, the West Bengal government burnt its fingers in Singur, where it had unsuccessfully attempted the forced acquisition of peasant land to hand it over to the Tata group of companies for the construction of an auto plant, but had to withdraw ‑ a volte face ‑ in the face of mass resistance. Now, following on the heels of Singur, it has provoked another tragedy in Nandigram, where it entered into an agreement with the Salim Group of Indonesia, permitting it to set up its SEZ for a chemical plant in East Medinipur in West Bengal on about 14,000 acres of land, which would become 35,000 acres in the future, as was planned by the Salim Group. Most of this land is under cultivation of small peasants and it is fertile multi-crop land. The place was deliberately chosen by the company for its proximity to the Haldia refinery to save on costs of transportation of petroleum and chemicals. The West Bengal government “won” this project competing with nine other state governments, after the multinational company selected West Bengal as the best place for such a huge investment.

It would not be out of place to mention that the Salim Group of companies is not an ordinary corporate firm but is the business cartel of one Sudono Salim, the right-hand man of Suharto, ex-president of Indonesia. This is not the first venture of this group in West Bengal; it has a track record of other contracts with the West Bengal government which already had led to controversy. Apart from the Special Economic Zone (which is a 50-50 joint venture with the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation) it has also been assigned the construction of the 100km long 100m wide Eastern Link Expressway and the construction of a four-lane road bridge over the Haldi River, from Haldia to Nandigram. The proposed bridge would provide a link between Haldia and the proposed chemical SEZ in Nandigram. The BarasatRaichak expressway and the Raichak-Kukrahati bridge, will connect Haldia to National Highway 34. This decision to award the contract for the expressway to the Salim Group also led to controversy, since the preliminary work for the same, including a feasibility study, was contracted out earlier to the renowned JICA. The Agency was kept in the dark about the change in plan until it was announced publicly by the Chief Minister.

For this SEZ project, the West Bengal government was to acquire the land of peasants, under compulsory acquisition laws, in about 29 villages affecting about 40,000 tillers. Out of these 29 villages 27 comprised part of the Nandigram region. The prospect of losing land and livelihood thereby, aroused the peasantry into resistance against this plan of the government. As they saw that the lands were being acquired at nominal compensation, the peasants decided to resist. A joint struggle committee, Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Samiti (Committee for resistance against eviction from land) was formed by various groups for resistance against the forced acquisition of land in the affected villages. The villagers in Nandigram took over the administration and blocked the roads leading to the area under acquisition. The irony of the episode is that until that moment the peasants in this region had overwhelmingly supported the CPI(M), the leading partner in the Left Front, and many of them were its active cadres.

The Left Front government was determined to demonstrate its loyalty to capitalism and to show that it would deal with the mass resistance against it more ruthlessly and better than any other bourgeois government. It thus amassed its own cadres who wore police uniforms, alongside the 3000-strong police force, on March 14, 2007, with a pre-plan to drown the peasant resistance in blood. Getting wind of the crackdown, beforehand around 2,000 village people, women and children included, gathered on the spot.

The police accompanied by CPM cadres and local goons, attacked the crowd without provocation and in the resulting mayhem 14 people perished on the spot. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, commented that “the oppositional forces have been paid in their own coin”. Instead of retreating, the people challenged the violence and showed their resolve not to succumb to repression and to fight the issue to the end. The supporters of the Left Front parties were driven out of the area by the people. On April 29 fresh violence erupted as the armed police tried to enter Nandigram. A team of intellectuals was assaulted on its way back from Nandigram after disbursal of relief aid.

There was political uproar, putting all the partners of Left Front in the dock. While even the bourgeois newspaper like the Times of India wrote that the party machine of the CPI(M) has become the “sword arm” of the industrialisation policy to settle the issues of property rights. Nandigram resulted in the biggest ever exposure of the revisionist parties and their politics in India. The long-standing supporters of these revisionist parties, among whom were also many honest people, saw with their own eyes the true colours of these parties. Not only opposition parties, but also the some allies of the Left Front came out against the policy of the government. Parliament remained in suspense on this issue for two days and finally on November 21, the CPI(M) was isolated in Parliament with nobody coming to its aid, in view of the widespread mass sentiments against the massacre carried out by the West Bengal government.

But nothing could water down the determination of the masses to resist the move of the government. The West Bengal government ultimately had to shelve its plans ‑ at least for the near future ‑ taking shelter in the assurance that the land would not be taken without the consent of the peasants, suggesting that the chemical city could be built on the sparsely populated Nayachar Island.

Left in the lurch, the Left Front government in West Bengal sought and found the aid and support of the central government led by Congress, immediately returning the favour so given by withdrawing its opposition to the infamous Nuclear deal of the Central Government with the US.

Notwithstanding the blame-game, from Singur to Nandigram, the truth is that the days of revisionist politics can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The advance of so-called neo-liberalism in the country is removing the ground from under the feet of false revolutionists. The polarisation of political forces is the crude reality of this era, whether one likes it or not.

There are going to be thousands of Singurs and Nandigrams. The petty bourgeois mass of small proprietors, which comprises the overwhelming majority of the population and which had been the strong bulwark for capitalism since 1947, is being abandoned by the “liberal” bourgeoisie, as it integrates itself with global capital, and desperately tries to save its positions. The “liberal” bourgeois cannot offer anything to these masses, except ruin. The march of global capitalism, first and foremost, is going to trample on the mass of peasants and the urban petty proprietors. To counter this onslaught, this mass needs to turn to the working class. And this would happen if the working class shows itself capable of overthrowing the “liberal” bourgeois.

We have to remember that the job of Marxists is not to explain to the small petty proprietors that their salvation lies in the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production, of capitalism itself. This stance of genuine Marxist revolutionaries separates them from the petty-bourgeois political currents like the “Maoists” who limit their perspectives to that of operating within the confines of capitalism, of seeking some kind of “progressive” development under capitalism. In this, the future of the land is not to parcel it out in smallholdings, but to develop it along socialist lines. We must defend the small peasants, but explain to them that their future can only be assured within the context of a general overthrow of capitalism. Our efforts must be directed to genuinely “ploughing the land” and not towards “growing in flower-pots”. We must unMarxderstand that the future under capitalist society brings with it the proletarianisation of the masses and not the spread of small-scale proprietorship

I am He whom I love, and He whom I love is I.Passion of Hallaj
We are two spirits dwelling in one body.
If thou seest me, thou seest Him
And if thou seest Him thou seest us both

Mansur Al-HallajTwo Husseins are important in the search of any attempt to reconstruct [or reconsile as is the more academic fashion these days] ideas of “liberation” and “freedom” within Islam, First who was killed on banks of river Euphrates by the armies of the emerging Moslem Empire on the orders of the Caliph , “the commander of the faithful”, the one who was grandson of the Muhammed , the prophet of Islam. The second Hussein was a Persian , who was killed , crucified like Jesus on the banks of river Tigris, on orders of the “Council of Mullahs” , the charges similar too , apostasy and blasphemy. The empire was Abbasid , not Roman, but there were mullahs, stones, cross and blood. Later just like Son of Man became the Son of Lord, Hussein became the great Sufi and saint. The Sufis were amongst those who killed him, but who cares for historical accuracy!

Why two Husseins are important for development of a radical libertarian discourse in Islam because , they were the voices of dissent against the two phenomenal distortions that emerged in Islam, The Empire and The Church . Hussein the son of Fatima died on sands of Kerbala resisting the confiscation of the right of the moslems to elect freely their leader, to resist the emerging of the empire, preserve its tribal egalitarian nature against emerging trade economy , from Yazeed to Bush “free market” needs conquest and oppression! For the market to become “Free”, “Man” has to become slave. Sons of Hashim thought other wise , the grand father elevated a Nigger on the roof of Kaa’ba , the bourgoies of Mecca , conquered but pardoned, in anger and disgust commented to Abbas “Look how your nephew has humiliated the Nobels of Quresh by putting this “crooked nose” nigger on our heads”

The generous Nephew just smiled and told his uncle “this was what I wanted”

Than Quresh were the Kings , the republic of niggers, slaves, poor and visionaries had to end , Hussein had to die helpless, calling for support , a cry that was not for dewellers of Kufa but for generations to come as Iqbal would identify later:

“Your blood [o Hussein] has created a garden [of liberation] and you have for eternity stopped the tyranny” , years later the “Communist” Faiz will make “The blood of Hussein” and that would make a dictator unhappy.

The Empire is built with iron and blood but it needs a toxin to control the minds, so far Islam was resisting. when religion merges with an empire it form a church. One after another the Imams were asked to join the empire, Malik was asked by king to give consent so that his “fikka” be made the “only law of land”, the scholar aware of the responsibility of intellectual’s freedom said no and replied “the Iraqis are pious and rigorous too , mine is not the only one”. He was beaten , shoulders were dislocated when he insisted to give Fatawa independant of state’s opinion. The Iraqi , Abu Hanifa was too subversive to be allowed to live and was given a choice “Be the Pope or Die”, taught by sons of Hashim he choose death. His students became the Pope and church emerged , than destiny called upon the second Hussein, who shouted : “I am the Truth”

People of Baghdad and Iraq had traditionally despised the conversion of Caliphate into Persian style Kingdom. Their loyalties were always towards the revolutionaries who wanted to overthrow the Abbasid kingdom. They were supporters of the Alvi claims. For this reason Baghdad was governed with an iron grip , a net work of spies and heavy taxation so that they did not act to help the Alavite cause.
On the religious side reaction were two fold, the Mullahs who compiled Islamic Law under the Abbasids [Later known as Sheriat , made firm alliance with the kings and added to violence by issuing “apostasy Fatwa” against any movement that challenged the Abbasid kingdom. Shiites , Sufis, Philosophers, revolutionaries, all got their share of Fatwas from Mullahs

When Mullahs and Sheria sided strongly with the Empire , the house of Muhammed came under increasing persecution. The masses strongly resented that, esp because the majority of moslems for the first time in history of Islam were Not Arabs but the people of Persia and central Asia, who had a rich back ground in Philosophy esp metaphysics. These minorities felt a sense of discrimination by Arabs, The flame of new “conversion” meant that their Religious Zeal was immense and loss of national pride and humiliation at the hands of Arabs , meant they could identify with “Muhammed” who showed no sign of National Prejudice and was very fond of Persian and his descendants whose piety was beyond question, whose nobility and descent appealed to the “Royalism” of Persians.
Result was the birth of Mysticism that attacked the“Mullah-Sheria” centered Islam , Muhammed and Ali became the center of all religious activities. Essenes was given priority to Form, and a unmatched humanism emerged that got a tremendous mass appeal, The Sufis mocked the King and the Priest, his sermon, his insistence on Law—–

to be continued—-

Albert Einstein

“One of the greatest minds of recent times was Albert Einstein , in one way or another he changed the way we think.He gave a radical new understanding of Physics and that of cosmos, which was extremely creative, it broke away the logical constraints of Newtonian mechanics . The religious establishment was very critical of him because of his open declaration against concept of personal God. After he died his views were delibrately distorted by religious people. He was converted into a believer , which he was not , his theory of relativity has been abused to prove religious concepts especially by Muslims. Einstein wrote an article “Why Socialism in Monthly Review , in 1949. In this article Einstein touched on a number of issues in subtle way, all of them now have emerged as phenomenal problem. The scope of science, the critique of “thought” itself, crisis of education . Despite Einstein’s modesty this article remains a superb piece of intellectual endeavor , we should all read it —”

Why Socialism?
By Albert Einstein Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is. Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological differences do exist. The discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstance that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. In addition, the experience which has accumulated since the beginning of the so-called civilized period of human history has — as is well known — been largely influenced and limited by causes which are by no means exclusively economic in nature. For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country. They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior.

But historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called “the predatory phase” of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases. Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future.

Second, socialism is directed toward a social-ethical end. Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends. But the ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals and — if these ends are not stillborn, but vital and vigorous — are adopted and carried forward by those many human beings who, half-unconsciously, determine the slow evolution of society

For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society

Innumerable voices have been asserting for some time now that human society is passing through a crisis, that its stability has been gravely shattered. It is characteristic of such a situation that individuals feel indifferent or even hostile toward the group, small or large, to which they belong. In order to illustrate my meaning, let me record here a personal experience. I recently discussed with an intelligent and well-disposed man the threat of another war, which in my opinion would seriously endanger the existence of mankind, and I remarked that only a supranational organization would offer protection from that danger. Thereupon my visitor, very calmly and coolly, said to me: “Why are you so deeply opposed to the disappearance of the human race?”

I am sure that as little as a century ago no one would have so lightly made a statement of this kind. It is the statement of a man who has striven in vain to attain an equilibrium within himself and has more or less lost hope of succeeding. It is the expression of a painful solitude and isolation from which so many people are suffering in these days. What is the cause? Is there a way out?

It is easy to raise such questions, but difficult to answer them with any degree of assurance. I must try, however, as best I can, although I am very conscious of the fact that our feelings and strivings are often contradictory and obscure and that they cannot be expressed in easy and simple formulas.

Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society. It is quite possible that the relative strength of these two drives is, in the main, fixed by inheritance. But the personality that finally emerges is largely formed by the environment in which a man happens to find himself during his development, by the structure of the society in which he grows up, by the tradition of that society, and by its appraisal of particular types of behavior. The abstract concept “society” means to the individual human being the sum total of his direct and indirect relations to his contemporaries and to all the people of earlier generations. The individual is able to think, feel, strive, and work by himself; but he depends so much upon society — in his physical, intellectual, and emotional existence — that it is impossible to think of him, or to understand him, outside the framework of society. It is “society” which provides man with food, clothing, a home, the tools of work, language, the forms of thought, and most of the content of thought; his life is made possible through the labor and the accomplishments of the many millions past and present who are all hidden behind the small word “society.”

It is evident, therefore, that the dependence of the individual upon society is a fact of nature which cannot be abolished — just as in the case of ants and bees. However, while the whole life process of ants and bees is fixed down to the smallest detail by rigid, hereditary instincts, the social pattern and interrelationships of human beings are very variable and susceptible to change. Memory, the capacity to make new combinations, the gift of oral communication have made possible developments among human beings which are not dictated by biological necessities. Such developments manifest themselves in traditions, institutions, and organizations; in literature; in scientific and engineering accomplishments; in works of art. This explains how it happens that, in a certain sense, man can influence his life through his own conduct, and that in this process conscious thinking and wanting can play a part.

Man acquires at birth, through heredity, a biological constitution which we must consider fixed and unalterable, including the natural urges which are characteristic of the human species. In addition, during his lifetime, he acquires a cultural constitution which he adopts from society through communication and through many other types of influences. It is this cultural constitution which, with the passage of time, is subject to change and which determines to a very large extent the relationship between the individual and society Modern anthropology has taught us, through comparative investigation of so-called primitive cultures, that the social behavior of human beings may differ greatly, depending upon prevailing cultural patterns and the types of organization which predominate in society. It is on this that those who are striving to improve the lot of man may ground their hopes: human beings are not condemned, because of their biological constitution, to annihilate each other or to be at the mercy of a cruel, self-inflicted fate

If we ask ourselves how the structure of society and the cultural attitude of man should be changed in order to make human life as satisfying as possible, we should constantly be conscious of the fact that there are certain conditions which we are unable to modify. As mentioned before, the biological nature of man is, for all practical purposes, not subject to change. Furthermore, technological and demographic developments of the last few centuries have created conditions which are here to stay. In relatively densely settled populations with the goods which are indispensable to their continued existence, an extreme division of labor and a highly centralized productive apparatus are absolutely necessary. The time — which, looking back, seems so idyllic — is gone forever when individuals or relatively small groups could be completely self-sufficient. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that mankind constitutes even now a planetary community of production and consumption.

I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.
The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor — not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production — that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods — may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.

For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call “workers” all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production — although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. In so far as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists’ requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

The situation prevailing in an economy based on the private ownership of capital is thus characterized main principles: first, means of production (capital) are privately owned and the owners dispose of them as they see fit; second, the labor contract is free. Of course, there is no such thing as a pure capitalist society in this sense. In particular, it should be noted that the workers, through long and bitter political struggles, have succeeded in securing a somewhat improved form of the “free labor contract” for certain categories of workers. But taken as a whole, the present-day economy does not differ much from “pure” capitalism.

Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an “army of unemployed” almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers’ goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.

This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?

Next Page »